Remembering Daniel Desrochers, boy killed during Quebec’s biker war
It was a sunny, humid day 20 years ago when 11-year-old Daniel Desrochers set out to the local swimming pool to meet up with friends.
As he was walking down Adam St., on the other side of the road Marc Dube, a known drug trafficker, was getting into a Jeep. Minutes later, a bomb went off. Dube was killed instantly. A man he was with was injured but survived.
Daniel was critically injured, hit by flying shrapnel. He died in hospital four days later.
Authorities said at the time the attack was a settling of accounts between warring biker gangs.
A small group of people gathered at St. Nom de Jesus School in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve Sunday, where there is a playground named in Daniel's honour, to mark the anniversary of his death.
The loss of her son spurred Josee-Anne Desrochers, along with community members, to begin a war of their own, mobilizing against the biker gangs and helping persuade Ottawa to pass legislation making it illegal to associate with members of organized crime groups.
Hochelaga-Maisonneuve Borough Mayor Real Menard was the Bloc Quebecois MP for the riding at the time.
“I’m very proud because people in this neighbourhood were very [involved] and they refused to accept the situation,” he said.
Daniel's uncle Rick Desrochers was at the ceremony. He said losing her son filled his sister with bitterness and anger.
Desrochers died of pneumonia at the age of 40 in 2005.
These days, bikers are back in the news, facing new charges of murder and conspiracy. But the gangs are not as powerful as they once were, thanks in large part to the laws Desrochers fought for.
It was later revealed that Dube was not the intended target. It was never definitively known who was responsible for the explosion.
-- with files from The Canadian Press